Iditarod 2024: Reigning rookie of the year disqualified from dog-sledding race for conduct violations

It may cold out in the Alaskan tundra, but the drama surrounding the 2024 Iditarod is heating up.

Reigning rookie of the year Eddie Burke Jr. is disqualified from the 2024 edition of the Last Great Race, the Iditarod Trail Committee announced Monday.

The Iditarod board cited rule 53 in its decision, which states: “All Iditarod mushers will be held to a high standard of personal and professional conduct.” No specific infraction or reason was given for his disqualification from the prestigious dog-sledding competition.

Per Alaska court records, Burke is facing felony and misdemeanor assault charges for an alleged domestic violence incident from May 2022 in Anchorage, Alaska news radio station KTOO reported.

“Regarding Eddie Burke Jr., the ITC has issued its statement about Eddie Burke Jr. and has no other comments at this time,” race spokesperson Shannon Noonan told the Associated Press.

The disqualification of the 34-year-old comes on the footsteps of the Iditarod sending a message to mushers that the race’s board had been informed about “a number of accusations being made within our community concerning violence and abuse against women.”

Burke claimed rookie of the year honors at the 2023 Iditarod after finishing in seventh place at the race. It was the best placement from a rookie since 2018, when Jessie Holmes placed seventh.

Per the Iditarod Trail Committee’s statement, the 2024 disqualification does not prevent Burke from applying to compete in future editions of the Iditarod.

Burke has been sled dog racing since 2021. Earlier this year, he finished second in the Yukon Quest Alaska race, earning rookie of the year honors in that excursion as well. 

When is the 2024 Iditarod?

The 2024 Iditarod is set to begin on Saturday, March 2, as the 52nd edition of the iconic race.

The mushers will race to complete the approximately 1,000 mile-course that snakes from Southcentral Alaska to the finish line in Nome.

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